"Our bearish view on the S&P 500 is wrong," remarks BofAML's Macneil Curry, as yesterday's close above 1,823 points to the larger uptrend resuming. However, despite the equity strength, Curry says "stay bullish Treasuries" as price action points to further gains. The USD's bullish trend is at risk and pressured by silver strength.
So far the overnight session has been a replica of yesterday, with the all important carry trade once again fizzling overnight during Japan trading hours, and dipping as low at 101.60 before staging a modest rebound to the 101.8 level. We expect the "invisible" 102.000 USDJPY tractor beam to be again engaged shortly and provide market support and/or levitate stocks higher as the now standard selling in Japan, buying in the US trade pattern repeats. On the other hand, US equity futures appear to have decoupled from the pure carry trade, and instead latched on to USD weakness and EUR strength following European Q4 GDP data, which came at 0.3% on expectations of 0.2%, up from 0.1%. Considering the constant adjustments to the European definition of GDP, at this point Mongolia would have been able to demonstrate growth if it was in Europe (but apparently not Greece which once again missed GDP expectations with Q4 GDP of -2.6% vs Exp. -2.0%). Expect ES and USDJPY to recouple shortly, as they always do - the only question if the recoupling will take place lower or higher.
For the first time ever, the majority of Americans are scared of their own federal government. A Pew Research poll found that 53% of Americans think the government threatens their personal rights and freedoms. Americans aren't wild about the government's currency either. Instead of holding dollars and other financial assets, investors are storing wealth in art, wine, and antique cars. The Economist reported in November, "This buying binge… is growing distrust of financial assets." Every central banker on earth has sworn an oath to Keynesian money creation, yet the yellow metal has retraced nearly $700 from its $1,895 high. The only limits to fiat money creation are the imagination of central bankers and the willingness of commercial bankers to lend. That being the case, the main culprit for gold's lackluster performance over the past two years is something else... It won't be inflation that drives up the gold price but the unwinding of massive amounts of leverage.
Yesterday's apparent Yellen un-taper-driven strength in gold broke some key technical levels and Goldman Sachs sees upside.
After initially sending the all important USDJPY carry pair - and thus all risk assets - into rally mode, the initial euphoria over manipulated Chinese trade data (see China Trade Puzzle Revived as Hong Kong Data Diverge), has all but fizzled and at last check the USDJPY was sliding to its LOD, approaching 102 from the wrong side. That, and a statement by the ECB's Coeure that the ECB is "very seriously" considering a negative deposit rate (and that the OMT is ready to be used even though it obviously isn't following the latest brewhaha from the German top court) have so far defined the overnight session, the latter having sent the EUR sliding across all major pairs.
Crisis was averted. Or was it just put off for another day?
"Stay defensive," warns BofAML's Macneil Curry. While risk assets ended last week on a very strong note, with the S&P500 putting in its best 2 day performance since October; the weight of evidence says that new S&P500 lows are coming and that risk assets should suffer in the weeks ahead. From the S&P500’s impulsive decline from 1850, to negative February seasonals, to deteriorating equity market breadth (the percent of NYSE stocks trading above their 200d avg is at its lowest since Oct'12); it should pay to remain defensive. In the week ahead we look for a top into the 1800/1823 area before the downtrend resumes for 1711/1686; and stay bullish bonds.
With silver's best week in over six months and gold testing3-month highs, Citi's FX Technicals group believes gold continues to look constructive overall with a test of $1,361 and eventually $1,433 expected. Rather ominously, from a broad perspective, they would not be surprised to see an inverse correlation between gold and equities just as was exhibited throughout the last bullion bull market in the 1970's.
A technical look at the currencies. The phase that has characterized the first few weeks of the year has ended and a new one has begun.
Pretty simple stuff!
It's that time again, when a largely random, statistically-sampled, weather-impacted, seasonally-adjusted, and finally goalseeked number, sets the mood in the market for the next month: we are talking of course about the "most important ever" once again non-farm payroll print, and to a lesser extent the unemployment rate which even the Fed has admitted is meaningless in a time when the participation rate is crashing (for the "philosophy" of why it is all the context that matters in reading the jobs report, see here). Adding to the confusion, or hilarity, or both, is that while everyone knows it snowed in December and January, Goldman now warns that... it may have been too hot! To wit: "We expect a weather-related boost to January payroll job growth because weather during the survey week itself - which we find is most relevant to a given month's payroll number - was unusually mild." In other words, if the number is abnormally good - don't assume more tapering, just blame it on the warm weather!
These distortions are now being corrected.
The biggest fear the market currently has is not the ongoing crisis in the Emerging Markets, not the suddenly slowing economy, not even China's credit bubble popping: it is that Bernanke's successor may have suddenly reverted to the "Old Normal" - a regime in which the Fed is not there to provide the training wheels should the S&P suffer a 5%, 10% or 20% (or more) drop. Whether such fears are warranted will be tested as soon as there is indeed a bear market plunge in stocks - the first in nearly three years (incidentally the topic of the Fed's lack of vacalty was covered in a recent Reuters article). So, assuming that indeed the most dramatic change in market dynamics in the past five years has taken place, how does one trade this new world which is so unfamiliar to so many of today's "younger" (and forgotten by many of the older) traders? And, more importantly, how does one look for the signs of a bottom: an Old Normal bottom that is. Courtesy of Convergex' Nicholas Colas, here is a reminder of what to look forward to, for those who are so inclined, to time the next market inflection point.
In the years since the Financial Crisis, major Central Banks have been engaged in incredible easing programs that included the injection of massive amounts of liquidity into the financial system. That liquidity, Citi notes, had to go somewhere, and in a search for yield, much of it went indiscriminately into Local Markets. So far, the exodus of money from Local Markets has been “tame” compared to previous EM crises and it has also been selective since countries with weaker economies and foreign reserves have been the ones taking the largest hits. However, as Citi warns, our bias is that this is just the beginning.
Equities have the worst day of the year and really no exchange around the globe was left out. Now every one on our screen is down YTD. For US markets, today was the worst day since last June. Overall, while today was active, it was still an orderly session. We did have some interest to buy topside options... Serious pain in risk assets lent a bid to US treasuries as yields continue to retreat from their New Years’ day highs.